Freelancers and Interns’ Rights – building a movement

Social Media Week

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It is rainy today in Berlin but that doesn’t seem to have effected the turn out as the room fills up for the first presentation of the day. Obviously freelancers rights is a hot topic in Berlin withmost of its transient community of artists and media workers scrabbling for work. Our speaker today, Katja, starts by discussing the difficult topic of internships. She was forced to ask herself why she was being paid more working in shops and cafes than she was after she got an education, the answer is simple – exploitation.

She is extremely well informed on the topic and talks passionately about the difference between an actual useful internship, which should be paid and last no longer than two months and modern day slavery. It’s true that when you are young and naive you jump at the chance to work for the company of you dreams with no idea of your rights. You make coffee, you produce actual profitable work. Some interns’ actually work themselves to death. Education seems to be the key here, once you understand what an internship actually means you will look twice at ever doing one again. You can join the discussion over at Interns go Pro 

Next up is Joel, one of the event organisers to talk about freelancers rights, which it would seem are practically non existent. His message is clear: freelancers need to come together and get organised! Most are highly skilled creative professionals who are squandering their talents to profit companies that have come to them for their expertise. They make them engage in bidding wars to get work and really extend their budgets by hiring contractors and freelancers which are cheaper (and more disposable) than permanent staff.

The tide however is turning, as freelancers discover they are stronger together and are beginning to actively participate in groups like and VGSD. The movement is growing and if you are a freelancer they need your help, strength in numbers has already stopped some laws being passed that would have badly affected the community. So if you want better working conditions and to gain the respect and benefits you deserve, then make sure to do your part!

I have to say this was to me an extremely powerful and informative presentation and once Joel publishes the book that goes along with this (all for free of course) I will be making sure it gets into the hands of as many people as possible, freelancers and employers alike!

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